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Supreme Court allows military transgender ban while legal battles continue

The U.S. Supreme Court (Dreamstime/TNS)
January 22, 2019

This is a breaking news story. Please check back for updates as more information becomes available.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that the U.S. Military is allowed to temporarily begin banning transgender troops under the Trump Administration’s proposed ban, while there are ongoing lawsuits regarding the ban.

The Court voted 5-4 in favor of temporarily upholding President Donald Trump’s proposed ban on most transgender troops, Bloomberg reported.

A federal appeals court ruled earlier this month that President Trump’s proposed ban of transgender service members can stand.

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The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit said, “The District Court made an erroneous finding that the [administration’s policy] was the equivalent of a blanket ban on transgender service,” the Washington Post had reported.

While that ruling was in the Trump Administration’s favor and lifted an injunction that blocked the ban, no changes had taken effect earlier in January, as there are three cases in other courts currently challenging the transgender ban. In the meantime, while there are legal challenges to the ban, the order was not permitted to go into effect.

The Supreme Court ruling on Tuesday reverses that decision.

Regarding Trump’s ban on transgender service members, the appeals judges pointed out that “judges must give deference to military leaders when it comes to policy decisions about standards for service,” the Washington Post had noted.

The administration in March issued a request to the Supreme Court to hear cases involving the transgender military ban.

Solicitor General Noel Francisco had submitted the petitions to the Supreme Court, requesting that they bypass the appeals court to step in and hear the three cases, citing the detriment of nationwide rulings wrongly imposed by lower courts, CNN had reported.

Trump in July 2017 had sent a series of tweets declaring that he was blocking transgender troops from the military, and that they could not serve “in any capacity.”

“After consultation with my Generals and military experts, please be advised that the United States Government will not accept or allow Transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. Military,” Trump said.

“Our military must be focused on decisive and overwhelming victory and cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail. Thank you,” he concluded.

Former Defense Secretary Jim Mattis had launched a months-long review of the issue before proposing a modified, but official policy to ban those with gender dysphoria diagnoses from serving in the military.

Gender dysphoria is the official term for a condition consisting of an individual’s conflict between their perceived gender and their sex at birth. The condition is commonly associated with transgender individuals.

Mattis’ review determined that those diagnosed with gender dysphoria also experience dangerous side effects such as suicide, anxiety, depression and drug addiction, and that surgeries and therapies were not successful in alleviating these side effects.

This past March, Trump said he would not allow transgender troops to serve in the U.S. military except under “limited circumstances.”

memo was filed in U.S. District Court in Seattle that says “transgender persons with a history or diagnosis of gender dysphoria – individuals who the policies state may require substantial medical treatment, including medications and surgery – are disqualified from military service except under certain limited circumstances.”

The Justice Department had advised the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals that the department would pursue an emergency hearing to remove the nationwide injunction of Trump’s ban.

The 9th Circuit is notorious for overturning President Trump’s policies.

It was the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals that upheld the lower court’s ruling to block Trump’s ban this past July.

The court determined that the Administration’s ban “would upend, rather than preserve, the status quo” that “allows transgender service members to serve in the military in their preferred gender and receive transition-related care,” the National Review reported at the time.